A Sixties Summer

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I’ve had many summers I loved, but none more than the one I’m presently in.

This is my summer of love around the world. For the past few months I have been roaming away from home. Whether it is climbing a mountain, exploring a village, or eating local specialties in another country, I am fulfilling my heart’s desire of wanderlusting.

Although my surroundings are always changing, one thing remains constant: while summer has barely began, I’ve been feeling the heat for some time now. I don’t particularly like sweltering and turning brown in the sun, but I do look forward to saying aloha to my collection of summer dresses when I return home.

pashmina turned headwrap (similar) / vintage maxi (similar) / mixed bangles (similar) / Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar) / Ecote heels (similar)

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From the archives is one of my faves. This 1960s maxi begs for a fun time at a tiki bar where I can cool down over a flaming scorpion bowl. The stinger in this outfit? A head wrap in the same punchy bright fuchsia that matches the bold watercolor haze of the dress. I had a little too much fun over accessorizing the outfit, stacking on more bangles than I would normally wear. But when one channels the 1960s, one must go with a bang, or several.

This dress is definitely made for a summer of love.

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Boho FOMO

IMG_8511 copy Rarely do I ever suffer feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out), yet when I found out a couple of my good friends were planning to lose their Coachella virginity this month, I admit I felt just a tinge of jealousy. I still remember vividly my experience from last year: the flower crowns, flowy dresses, fringe, and colorful prints. Yes my friends, I have festival fashion FOMO and the only cure for it is more boho.

thrifted scarf (similar) / vintage dress  (similar) / thrifted bangles (similar here & here)
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Luckily I found my fix right under my nose, hanging in my closet. This handmade vintage dress makes me feel groovy but elegant, youthful yet mature. With a stylized paisley floral print bursting in a melange of vivid colors, it only seemed right to accessorize accordingly, else do the dress injustice. An urban turban and an arm chockfull of bangles fit the boho bill quite nicely.
IMG_8524 Sometimes I wonder about who made and wore this dress, and to where did she wear this psychedelic beauty? Perhaps to a music festival in the 60s or 70s? Whoever she was, she is my body twin and style soulmate.

Wearing this dress takes me back into time and that’s better than any overpriced Coachella weekend. Peace out FOMO!

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Bohemian Rhapsody

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

It is often said that the zodiac sign Pisces teeter between the worlds of reality and fantasy, so I’m pretty sure Queen was singing about us – or maybe not. As a Pisces, I know first hand of what it’s like to have my head in the clouds. I often daydream about being a starving artist living the vagabond life or being a performer on stage. I’ve been told I’m eccentric, and I know my thinking can be a little offbeat. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Pisces, or perhaps it’s because I’m the middle child – in any case, I march to my own beat, and that beat is my bohemian rhapsody.

A rhapsody like that deserves that 70s dress, and I found such a dress for only five dollars at a garage sale. The wild floral paisley print and the relaxed figure forgiving silhouette all epitomize 1970s bohemian style. I imagine it might have lived la vie bohème in a past life before it met me. I accessorized accordingly with a wide brimmed wool hat, some bangles, and my vintage 1970s wedge sandals. If there’s something a bohemian styled outfit needs, it’s a noisy coin charm bracelet. The jingling on my wrist caused more commotion than the coins on a belly dancer’s hips. And my hips don’t lie…or do they?

Although everyone has just one of them days, the day I wore this dress was certainly no rhapsody in blue. I was flagged by a street style photographer – finally some recognition for an outfit well done!

I parked my butt right next to the “no parking” sign and started posing. The only other thing just as free flowin’ as me was the wind I had to battle during this photoshoot. But instead of fighting it, I used it to my advantage because that’s what Pisces do best: we go with the flow.

Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me.


Uniqlo hat (similar hat) / vintage dress (similar dress here, here, and here) / vintage Natural Comfort shoes (similar shoes) / vintage charm bracelet (similar bracelet)

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Exemplary Embroidery

I’m still battling feelings of wanderlust.

Through my travels I like to keep my eye out for local style and traditional forms of dress. Truth be told, I’m quite the sucker for souvenir shops and outdoor markets with alleyways of vendors that stretch for miles. I like to think that I’m quite the little bargainer from my years of haggling experience, but sometimes the language barrier gets in the way. At that point I rely on my ten fingers and my smile to get my ideal price point across.

I carefully curated this dress from my trip to Mexico last year. Dazzled by the vibrant colors and beautifully embroidered flowers, I remember the first time I slipped it over my head. The vendor saw the flash of excitement on my face and immediately, I was at a disadvantage. I may not have had bargaining power to strike up a ridiculously good deal, but it didn’t matter.

The shapeless silhouette makes it easy and comfortable to wear, with the bright colors only made more stunning by way of embroidery. It reminds me of my embroidering days as a kid, spending endless hours threading embroidery floss into the fabric stretched out on two wooden hoops. I’d like to think that the same care was taken by some lady in Mexico carefully embroidering this dress just for me, but something tells me this was probably mass produced by a machine somewhere. In any case, I love it just the same!

I accessorized minimally with a pair of colorful vintage cork earrings, a simple necklace and even incorporated some enamel bangles curated from my time in Beijing. The dress’s ornate embroidery speaks for itself. It doesn’t matter if you can’t understand Spanish, this dress is simply beautiful and transcends all language barriers.

La playa? Thanks for the compliment, but I’m looking for the beach.

D&Y hat (similar hat) / Mexican dress / Franco Sarto sandals (similar sandals)

Poolside Polka Dot

When it comes to styling the perfect outfit, I often freestyle it. Take the bathing suit for example: one has to think outside the swimming pool.

Betty Grable

Even though I purchased this red and white polka dot one-piece a few seasons ago, the retro design and classic style makes it timeless. Whenever I wear it, I feel like Betty Grable, although I dare not compete with her beauty and body.

Luckily, you don’t always have to bare your bottom. A one-piece bathing suit can be worn perfectly with a pair of trousers or a skirt. I chose to wear my polka dots with a full midi skirt thrifted from Salvation Army and completed my glam poolside ensemble with summertime appropriate bangles and a flower in my hair.

Far from a belly-flop, this is one outfit too chic to do a cannonball in.

Urban Outfitters bathing suit (similar) / thrifted skirt (similar) / Me Too shoes (similar) / flower headband (similar) / bangles (similar)

Into the Wild Summer Solstice

Soak in the sunshine because this is the longest day of the year. It’s the official start of summa summa summa time, time to sit back and unwind.

I was wild about this dress when I spied it on the racks of the thrift store safari that is Salvation Army. I swiftly pounced on it like my prey before another shopper could have the chance. Not only was this dress animal printed, but also the print was a mix of three different animals: leopard, cheetah, and tiger. To top it off, it had the animals lounging on the hem of the dress. With tiger and leopard accessories to match, I created the perfect wild look that could scare the summer solstice daylights out of someone.

Unfortunately it was feeling more like winter during my photoshoot. It was bitingly cold, and so I tried to think like an animal in the wild. What would the leopard do? The cheetah? How about the tiger? And just like that, I struck a pose in the cold wind like a beast. Am I worthy of being America’s Next Top Model? Maybe. Oh, except that I haven’t quite mastered the art of smizing. Sorry Tyra, I have failed you.

thrifted dress (similar) / cardigan (old, similar) / thrifted necklace (similar) / bangles (old, similar here + here)

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The (flower) Power Suit Part 3: Totally Tubular Turban

You’ve read part 1 and part 2. And now, I present to you the highly anticipated concluding chapter to my three part flower power suit saga that you will want to sink your teeth into Twilight style. 

A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked for my opinion on the turban fashion trend and whether or not she could pull it off. Having never tried one, I scoffed at the idea, and naively advised that it only looks good on those with modelesque facial features, and not on the average Josephina.

Fast forward to the present: I’m eating my humble pie and boy does it taste so fashionably good with a hint of style. I recently gave the turban headband a try, and I love it. I often have trouble with scarves slipping and sliding off my head, but there is something about the cocoon like wrapping of the turban that alleviates this issue. I now have the perfect solution to bad/dirty hair days! Oh happy day.

Although turbans have long existed in many cultures as customary headwear, it made its first appearance into the fashion world in the early 1900s with the help of designer Paul Poiret. It eventually became quite popularized in 1970s and morphed its way into a looser fitting hat. Since then, the turban has remained totally tubular on the fashion radar, even making its way onto the runway in past ready-to-wear shows.

Since I created a ladylike outfit with the flower power suit’s skirt, I decided I wanted to go a little less dainty and feminine. I wanted my next look to be cool, hip, and funky. My green silk scarf matched the suit jacket perfectly, and I decided to give the turban headband a shot. While there are many ways of wrapping a turban/turban headband, I stuck to the simplest method: 1) hold a long scarf behind your head, holding the ends; 2) bring the ends towards the front of your head and single knot in the front, but keep the original left end on the left, and the original right end on the right – do not swap sides; 3) bring the ends to the back of your head and tie together; 4) add some pizzazz to your turban headband by pinning a brooch in the front.

Oh, how the urban turban transforms this outfit! Suddenly the suit jacket doesn’t seem like a conservatively boring 80s jacket. I bangled it up with a ton of colorful cloisonné arm candy that I’ve had in storage, and the look wouldn’t be complete with a pair of studded booties – my go to shoes when I don’t want to be a goodie-two-shoes.

Wasn’t that totally tubular? Now be like Willow and wave your hair back and forth. But not too hard, cause that turban might fly off your head.